2008 budget stayed on track

2008 was a very busy and challenging time for the Town of Fort Frances.
Some of the notable projects were the reconstruction of portions of Central Avenue and Third Street, the water tower rehabilitation, and the underpass project. It is disappointing the underpass rehabilitation is not yet finished, but we are projecting early completion next year.
Our 2008 budget has stayed on course and year-end amounts should be close to the original forecasts. Our 2009 budget process is well underway, and will be presented in draft form at the regular meeting of council on Dec. 22.
Our budget consists of three main areas: the user fees, the operational forecast, and capital budget. We partially have completed our user fee portion, which will be formally presented at the Dec. 22 council meeting.
A majority of the user fees will see a three percent increase for residents, with the exception of our landfill. The landfill service is proceeding to the status of a stand-alone, self-funded entity.
One of the tools council uses to monitor and compare our operating costs is through the Municipal Performance Measurement statistics. This enables the town to compare our operational performance with other communities.
Some of the most common elements of the 2007 report are:
•police services cost $294 per resident;
•fire department costs are $2.40 per $1,000 in property assessment (e.g., a $100,000 assessment is $240);
•library services costs $75 per resident (the average user of the library uses it 41 times per year);
•parks, recreational programs and facilities per Fort Frances resident is $241;
•garbage pickup per household is $39;
•landfill and disposal is $67 per household;
•wastewater (sewage) collection cost $10,412 per km of pipe to maintain and repair;
•wastewater treatments costs are $256 per mega litre;
•drinking water distribution costs are $13,686 per km of pipe for maintenance and repair;
•drinking water treatment for processing water is $250 per mega litre; and
•local government costs for governance and corporate management was 4.8 percent of the total budget.
These services listed above, and all other controllable costs, will be scrutinized during the 2009 budget process to identify potential efficiencies.
With the 2008 holiday season upon us, on behalf of your town council, I wish all residents and their families a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year!

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